Europe 2016-Day 18…Heidiland and Liechtenstein

After our big day on the cog train to the Top of Europe, it was nice to have a leisurely morning.  This would be our last day in Switzerland.  We had a tour at 11am that went to Liechtenstein and the then a stop in the Heidiland region.  We wanted to visit Liechtenstein but there are no trains that go there.  The only tour we could find, included Heidiland.  Jim’s only experience with Heidi, was the famous American football game between the Raiders and Jets, where the network broke away from the game to show the movie Heidi.  It was one of the greatest finishes in Raider history.  Jim was being a good sport about the day, and we would get to go to a very tiny country.


We met our tour guide Peter, who took us on a short tour of Zürich.  Even though we had been on a previous tour we still learned some new, interesting information.  Peter was the tour guide who gave us most of the information about the Fraumunster church in Zurich, which we talked about in a previous post.  He told us that Protestant churches have rosters on top, while Catholic churches have crosses.  We then drove along Lake Zurich where we learned that the two coastlines are called the Gold coast and the silver coast.  Gold is where the billionaires live and silver is where the millionaires live.   Tina Turner, an American singer, had just bought a house for 28 million Francs on the Gold side.

We made a stop at Rapperswil, also known as the city of Roses. We walked up and around the Rapperswill Castle.

We had some incredible views of the lake…

the surrounding hillsides…

And of course the roses…

After a short walk back down the hill, it was lunch time.  We looked at the menus of the restaurants and headed to find a less expensive option.  We found a free restroom at the information office and then a Migros grocery store.  Bought pretzel bread, cheese sticks, bargain chocolate chip cookies, and pop/soda.  The cheese was true mozzarella so had very little flavor.  He had a Sparrow that kept flying over Jerie’s head, trying to steal her bread.  She then loudly announces, “I hate birds”.

We boarded the bus and headed toward Liechtenstein.  The drive was on a 2 lane highway with beautiful scenery.

Also incredible views of the mountains…

We got a glimpse at some of the local industries of farming and mining.

A long the road there were numerous churches and of course we kept an eye out for roosters and crosses.

Peter filled us in on the history of Liechtenstein.  Only way to get there is on a bus.  There are 20,000 residents.  It is a very rich country.  It is approximately 4 miles wide and 15 miles long. The Rhine River is the border between it and Switzerland.  Up until 1939 the royal family had lived in Austria for the previous 5 centuries.  The family moved back to the castle to avoid involvement in World War II.  The citizens speak a Swiss-German dialect.  You have to travel over a small mountain pass, but we were treated to a great view of the valley.  Once we crossed the Rhine, we were in Vaduz, Liechenstein!!

The castle sits high above the city.

There were was a cute “sculpture” of the castle as well as an old fashion popcorn machine, which Jerie had never seen one so we had to pay the 2 Euros.

After getting our passports stamped, we got back on the bus for our trip to the Heidiland region of Switzerland.  We passed a covered bridge and also went through a village with very small streets for our bus.

On the way, Peter told us the story of Heidi by Johanna Spyri.  It is a book of fiction loosely based on several real people.  Heidi was an orphan who came to live with her grandfather, high on the mountain slopes.  The bus took us to a parking area were we would need to make a short hike up the hill, to a re=-creation of Heidi’s childhood home.

We also saw the grandfather’s barn and you could pay to hike to their home, but we stayed below and enjoyed the peace and quiet.

And some more pretty views.

Time to head back to Zürich and just in time, as it started to rain, but we still enjoyed the bus ride back and the view of the scenery. Peter told us to look for churches that had a cross and a rooster, as those were shared churches.

It was an enjoyable “hump”day as we are halfway through our European adventure.  We very much enjoyed Peter as our tour guide.  Once back in Zürich, we went to Migros, and bought microwave dinners (since we had finally figured out the wattage).  Cindy had a pesto pasta and it was really good, Jerie kept “forking” hers, so we knew she didn’t like what she got.  After dinner she went through her pictures and she deleted 400 and proudly proclaims, “I am down to 1600 pictures”.  She must be having a good time.  On TV we saw that Paris was having a transportation strikes, so glad we aren’t there.  So far the travel gods have been kind to us, with no real issues or problems.  Tomorrow, we catch the train for Barcelona, Spain.